Question of the Day #3

GB: Considering the current trend in the development of computer hardware, how do you think this will influence the future of RPGs? In what areas do you think that RPGs will improve in the near future?

Garrett: The most obvious changes will be in the graphics department. Right now developers can hardly keep up with all the new video card innovations. I think PoR rocks in this department. As an example of what the future will bring, I would use the character gen in Phantasy Star. My jaw dropped into my lap when I saw what you could do with your avatar. I also think that story telling engines will start to greatly improve. What I hear from the programmers is that these things are hellish to program, since they rely on so many variables. It took decades for programmers to come up with an AI to beat humans at chess. As the years pass, AI for established genres of computer games, and story telling engines will also improve.


GB: Can you describe what the advantages and disadvantages are for producing a D&D game when compared to any other RPG? Have you ever worked on a RPG that was not based on the D&D rule set? Would you like to develop a D&D game from scratch?

Garrett: This is the first RPG that I've worked on. I think that using the D&D system is a huge advantage though, due to the fact that it is a balanced system that is ready to go. By using it, we didn't have to worry about creating our own system and then spending months trying to balance it. I would absolutely love to design a D&D game from scratch. I think my main goal would be to try to come up with a new angle for the system. For instance, I was really impressed with all of the innovative things done with Torment.


GB: Is there any relationship between the novel and the game? Has the book been based upon the game or the game upon the book? Have you at any time had contact with Carrie A. Bebris concerning the story line of the book and the game?

Garrett: I go to my man Chuck Yager for this answer: The novel is based on the game and the module (ed. the P&P adventure) is loosely based on the game. Early on, Chuck and Jon had lots of contact with Carrie and Chuck says the book is really good (and he reads a *lot* of D&D books).


GB: The following is based on the presumption that there is going to be sequel to the game. What features that you have left out in the game, would you like to see featured in a possible sequel?

Garrett: Heh. Well after reading our Forum I think that any future D&D games we're allowed to do will have a full implementation of 3E rules, including all classes and races. And I'd also want full, user control of all skills, feats, etc. We're under different management now than we were when PoR was started, so our future products will be blessed with bigger budgets.


GB: To what extent do you have to run the decisions that are being made concerning the game past the people at WotC? You have said that they prefer D&D games to feature heroic campaigns. Are there any other guidelines that they have issued when you started working on PoR?

Garrett: The guys at WotC are a really easy going bunch. They don't impose a lot of rules on us and are very understanding of the limitations of computer games. Chuck and I are big supporters of the 3E system, and we do what we can to get as much in as possible. I know a little bit about WotC's preferences just from casual conversations with them. As you might imagine, when we go up to Seattle to see them, it turns into a big geek-fest and we spend a lot of time talking about what we'd love to see in a game.

GB: Who'd use the Int stat for anything? Seeing how the mage and bard are gone other than for more dialogue options, you wouldn't need int any more, right?

Garrett: The Int. stat determines the number of skills your character starts with and how many skills your character gains as they advance in levels. Also the Search, Spellcraft and Disable Device skills are all affected by the character's Int. bonus. There is a list of skills that the game chooses from for each class - both at the start of the game and when a character goes up a level. The higher the character's Int. the more skills that character gets and the faster that character's skills will increase.